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Guerilla tactics are very similar to Ambush tactics, but have a few key differences. Unlike Ambush tactics, the goal is to destroy enemy units without losing any of your own. Guerilla tactics tend to make heavy use of artillery, as you can fire from out of enemy range, then quickly retreat before they can retaliate. Guerilla tactics put the most emphasis on your attack costing the enemy more than it costs you, usually by several orders of magnitude.
The Allies are not very well suited for guerilla tactics, but there are a few that work especially well.
- Multigunner IFVs - Build 13 Multigunner IFVs and load them with 5 Peacekeepers, 5 Javelins and 3 Engineers. Send them to enemy's base. Engineer IFVs will repair your other IFVs, Peacekeeper IFVs handle infantry and Javelin IFVs handle most of vehicles and aircraft. You may also send your Engineer IFV to a nearby enemy Construction Yard, deploy the IFV and capture your enemy's Con-Yard.
- Tanya Drop is a tactic where a Century bomber flies in and drops Tanya directly beside key enemy structures. This is especially effective when she targets an enemy Construction Yard because the cost of Tanya and the bomber is only $4000, but the Construction yard (or the MCV rather) costs $5000, meaning even if she is killed immediately after taking out the Construction Yard and the bomber is lost, the attack is still financially sound. You can also create Tanya lookalikes with Spies and load them into the same bomber. Spies can take the base powers off or steal enemy's money.
- The only good way to counter this is something that hits hard and really, really fast. A Wave Force Cannon placed near your construction yard is a great way to do this since it will instantly kill her and it stays charged when idle until after it fires.
- The Chronosphere can be useful in allowing units which would otherwise make very poor Guerilla units successful. They can attack as usual, and then right before being destroyed, you can chronoshift them to safety. This works especially well with Aircraft Carriers and Athena Cannons, as a single twinblade will often destroy them before they can retreat. To make this work even better, if you are playing with an Empire ally, have them use their Point Defense Drones so your units can make it longer before needing to be recalled. There isn't a great way to counter this, but one option is to get some of your own units near the attacking forces before they're Chronoshifted. Then when the enemy recalls their units, they'll get a surprise delivery of your own units into their base! Remember to do this after your enemy targets their own units, else they'll see you do it and cancel the transfer.
- Another creative use of the Chronosphere is to build a set of 4 Spectrum Cannons with walls around them, then chronoshift key enemy units inside the box. Almost nothing will survive the initial blast of the 4 cannons and would take longer than they would usually survive to break down the walls. This is a perfect tactic to counter any MCV rush, but be careful, because if you do this with a bullfrog, it may shoot infantry into your base before you can destroy it. Besides that, the only good way to counter this, if you're playing Empire, is to make sure you purchase the Honorable Discharge upgrade, then move your forces directly beside the Spectrum Cannons, causing the Cannons to damage themselves when they destroy your unit.
- Lastly, you can always Cronoshift an enemy Prospector or Ore Collector. This works especially well if you have an allied Soviet player, as their Natasha can pilot snipe and use the vehicle. This also means your enemies have probably walled their ore nodes to avoid your ally's Terror Drones, so it'll take them too long to escape the Chronoshift. Of course, if you are playing Allies and your ally is playing Soviets, remind them that it's better if you capture any enemy Prospector after they snipe it, because you can buy the clearance upgrades once you make it a command hub, whereas that clearance does them no good.
- Another, somewhat limited, strategy makes use of the Chronoswap support power. An Aircraft Carrier can be sent by itself without a support force to strike an opponent's base. If the opponent tries to destroy it, the Carrier can be exchanged with a dog next to your naval yard allowing you to repair and reuse the Carrier.
- In Uprising, the Pacifier FAV makes a good Guerilla unit. It can fire a single round from a hill overlooking a base and then quickly retreat to water before an enemy can retaliate. However, only a scant few structures will be destroyed in a single barrage, and it is often better to use them in pairs.
- When used in conjunction with the Chronosphere, a FutureTank in Uprising can be very effective. A pair of standard shots combined with a single Riot Beam blast will level a Construction Yard, so sacrificing a $3000 FutureTank to destroy a $5000 Construction Yard is a pretty good deal. That said, Vindicators, Twinblades, or Chopper VXs will take them out en route, so if you want your FutureTank back alive, Chronoshift it in, then have it Chronoswap with a cheap unit (a Multigunner works fine) so you only lose the cheap unit. This can work with any Allied vehicle, but it's only really useful with a FutureTank or Aircraft Carrier (using a Riptide for the swap) since most other Allied units require 2 or more to be of any use. Of course, if your enemy has one side of his base poorly defended, you could drive over a Multigunner or Riptide, use the Chronoswap to switch it in, and then use the Chrosphere to evacuate it, but this runs the risk of losing your more expensive unit while it's disabled after the Chronoswap, so you're usually better off to sacrifice the cheap unit to guarantee safe return of the expensive one.
- One other underrated guerilla tactic actually involves the Chronosphere itself. If your opponent has build up a large force and is preparing to attack, you can use the chronosphere to transport his units into a place where they can not tread. This will require good scouting. Learn where his most valuable units are in the formation and use the chronosphere to teleport them. Teleport land units onto water and water units into land. To destroy an amphibious unit, teleport into a building. Note that you can teleport enemy infantry anywhere as they will die immediately. You can't use this against air units unless they're grounded at the moment (good way to get rid of pesky Vindicators or century bombers).
The Soviets are not as good as the Empire at Guerilla warfare but they are better than the Allies. Due to the addition of both Mortar Cycles and Desolator Troopers, they are the best at guerilla warfare in Uprising.
- To begin with, though it is more along the lines of an Ambush tactic, the Soviet Terror Drone Surprise upgrade gives their armored units a capability that is certainly unexpected. The oldest trick in the book is also to send a Terror Drone into an enemy Prospector or Ore Collector. However, the Empire can counter this with their Ore Collector's Security System ability.
- Another unique Guerilla tactic the Soviets have is making creative use of their Hammer Tank's Leach Beam. Build a group of 12 Hammer Tanks and use the Leech Beam from 6 of them on some Mecha Tengus and 6 of them on Multigunner IFVs. Then your group of Hammer Tanks will be able to take out any type of unit, yet has better armor than either Tengus or IFVs. If you have both Empire and Allied allies, you can force fire upon their units with the Leech Beam only and it will give you their weapons without damaging them. This can be done also with Striker VX's instead of Multigunners if you have only Empire allies. You can also double the firepower of your Hammer Tanks by building 2 and having them Leach Beam each other, thus giving each of them 2 cannons instead of one. The way to counter this is simple: Artillery. Hammer tanks with anti-infantry and anti-air weapons are still Hammer Tanks, so they're slow and vulnerable to Athena Cannons and Wave Force Artillery.
- A much cheaper Guerilla tactic is to use a combination of Twinblades and V4's. Bring in the Twinblades carrying the V4s, all in "hold fire" mode. Then drop the V4's, make a single shot, and pick them back up and quickly evacuate the area. You can use the Twinblades to pick off any infantry that try to intercept the group, too. The obvious counter is air-to-ground options, though a MiG escort can render this option inoperable too. Chopper VX's work best so you can hit the V4, then switch to Striker mode to take out the Twinblades and/or MiGs. Vindicators are faster and more likely to catch the V4 before they load back up, but without an Apollo escort, you may miss the V4 and lose your vindicator to a MiG too! The very best counter is to simply have a Mirage tank nearby in likely points to take out the V4, then call in an Apollo to finish the Twinblade, but this can still fail if they bring in bears and take out the mirage before dropping the V4.
- Using Natasha to pilot snipe a Prospector is a very financially effective tactic. Bring in Natasha in a Twinblade (or via Bullfrog) and then pilot snipe a Prospector. After you capture it, you can deploy it somewhere close to your enemy's base and build base defenses directly outside their base without having to risk your own Sputnik. This costs them $2800 (to build the Prospector, then have to rebuild it) and costs you only $100 (if you used a conscript to capture it after the pilot snipe.) If you can do this 4 times (for each slot in your Twinblade/Bullfrog not used by Natasha) you will cost them $7000 for only $400! Even if you lose Natasha after the first Snipe, you still cost them the $2800 and Natasha only cost you $2000. Of course, since she is infantry, Natasha is susceptible to the same counters as anyone else. Nearby Archer Maidens garrisoned in buildings will take her out with ease, and any higher tech base defense will outrange her and kill her. The main thing to remember is not to defend against Natasha in any situation with heavy vehicles or infantry out of cover. Either garrison infantry, use lighter vehicles in a group, or just use good base defenses.
- In Uprising, the best of all Guerilla units is the Mortar Cycle. It can bombard all lower tech base defenses, and it can clear any garrison so long as it contains no Tankbusters or Javelin Troops without dying. They can also be used like the Twinblade/V4 drop tactic above, though they will do much less damage. In this case, your best bet is to drop them and just leave them, then run them out by land if you can, so you definitely don't lose the Twinblades. In countering these, the key is their weak armor. A single pair of shells from an Apocalypse tank will level them, as will a single shot from a Guardian if it has another laser spotting them. Wave Force Artillery also dispatch these quite nicely, since they outrange them and their shot is immediately on target. Pacifiers do not work well and Athena Cannons will usually only take them down to half health before they are out of the damage area of the beam. Multigunner IFVs also work well if you can get them near the Morter Cycles before they start to run, and also help to take out the Twinblades that brought them in.
- A close second in Uprising is the Desolator Trooper. If you can get a pair of them inside an enemy base (and away from defenses) then put one in splattershot mode and the other in sprayer mode, they can level buildings as fast or even faster than Yuriko Omega! They are more expensive but they are the quickest way to level buildings the Soviets have. They also cannot be crushed by most vehicles, and though they are very resistant to most anti-infantry infantry, they are very weak to lower tech base defenses (and high tech ones, though they are somewhat resistant to Spectrum Towers.) The best way to counter desolators is to destroy them en route. Nobody sends them in on foot, so either take them out while they're parachuting in from a bullfrog, or shoot down the twinblade carrying them. Apollos do this best, but Archer Maidens also do this very well.
Empire of the Rising Sun
The Empire is generally the best at guerilla warfare in Red Alert 3, while being a close second to the Soviets in Uprising. Most of their Guerilla tactics owe to the fact that their Tengu and VX units are able to easily transform, allowing them to instantly escape fire while still remaining in the area, and their infantry are a lot more swifter. This puts them at an advantage over their enemies in Guerilla warfare because they don't always need to retreat.
- This can be used to great effect by placing an Imperial Docks or Mecha Bay near an enemy line, because even if you don't tech it up, it will allow you to repair your units and send them straight back into battle, which can save you boatloads of money and make any Guerilla attack more profitable. The one weakness of the Empire in guerilla attacks is that their units generally have the weakest armor in the game, so even a small retaliation force will destroy them if they can catch them.
Imperial Warriors and Tankbusters are another great asset of Guerilla Warfare. Whil tankbusters can use their special ability but usually begins along the line of ambush strategy but they are pretty effective or otherwise, while Imperial Warriors are also good at harassing ore collectors and prospectors and then retreat if using their banzai charge,it allows them to sprint faster than any infantry that the soviet or Allies have in their arsenal. Always have comrades in arms watch their backs as they retreat. Shinobi are a true menace to the Allies and Soviets, because they can wreak havoc into their bases, bye entering certain structures, although it either begins with scouting or ambush, but otherwise these strategies might associate with guerilla warfare as one might say.
Sudden transports might work for your retreating infantry( if they're doing guerilla tactics)because they can disguise themselves as enemy vehicles, just in case they have no where to hide and run from, but beware of dogs and bears.
- The obvious choice for guerilla warfare for the Empire is Tengu, then VX later in the game. Despite conventional logic that says you should mix forces, Tengu and VX are usually best kept separate for Guerilla warfare purposes, because often shifting both unit types simply means one type of units will get shot down instead of the other.
Tsunami tanks, like the tengu and the VX, are also good at Guerilla warfare as well, due to being versatile and speed. It usually start off as a steamroller overall strategy, but nonetheless they're pretty good at this tactic after steamrolling, if using nanodlectors to increase their speed. And they're also good at harassing the enemy base as well and retreat, aircraft are a big problem, so always escort your tanks with anything that can clear the skies.
- That said, unlike other units, the primary guerilla tactic to use with Tengu or VX is baiting. A great way to do this is to have 4 Striker VX near the end of, but still on of a bridge, and a pair of Wave Force Artillery behind them on solid ground. When your opponent tries to hit your Strikers on the ground, change their mode, then have the Wave Force Artillery force fire on (and destroy) the bridge while your enemy is trying to flee. They'll lose their assault force and anything that makes it back across can be mopped up by your Chopper VX. The obvious way to really counter this is to send a lot of anti-air forces with your bridge strike group, such as Javelins, Flak Troopers, or Archer Maidens, and hold them back unless your other infantry make it across the bridge safely. That said, you can also try to bait the bait, by sending in a small, expendable force of cheap infantry (4 Conscripts will do) and then have MiGs, Apollos, or Rocket Angels on standby to take out the Choppers after they transform. After this, Rocket Angels, Vindicators, or Twinblades can come in and mop up the artillery.
- Another great example is to place 4 Mecha Tengu over water, in Hold Position mode. When your enemy sees they're not moving (such as when he sends Attack Dogs or War Bears to scout them) then he'll realize they're in Hold Position mode and try to send a Vindicator or Twinblade at them. Transform them into Jet Tengu and watch them fall from the sky! This doesn't always work, of course, and a pair of Riptides (since they have Torpedos on water) will take out the Mecha Tengu handily. A pair of Apollos will mop up any Jet Tengu survive the Riptides. To counter this counter, you can keep a pair of Sea Wings nearby, and let them aid your Jet Tengu in taking out the Apollo before finishing the Riptides, or you can bring along a pair of Tsunami Tanks or a single Naginata.
Yari minisubs are also good at guerilla warfare as well, because they can harass the enemy and destroying large chunks of the enemy's base and retreat, this leaves the enemy very crippled and they are undetected by radar scans, and they can outrun a riptide and stingray if enhanced bye fortified fleet upgrade to increase their speed, their armor and their vision. Although they won't stand a chance against a Soviet's own akula sub or Allied assault destroyers, so if you bring along 1 or 2 nagata cruisers(backed up bye seawings) to protect your fleeing yari minisubs, this can be repeated many times over, so this will save you money, keep continue using this method until the enemy is defeated. Last voyage is recommended if need be arise( particularly against akulas and destroyers).
- Two more examples center around the Imperial Navy. Shogun Battleships are capable of guerilla tactics, since their special ability will allow them to flee a small distance at great speeds after firing off a round. In this case, it is more important than ever to make sure your Shogun is parallel to the target, ot facing forward towards it, so you get the full 6 shots before you have to flee. The primary counter for a Shogun is the same as the primary counter for an Allied Aircraft Carrier - Twinblades. However, Sea Wings will make short work of twinblades, so if you bring along 1 Sea Wing and 2 Yari Mini Subs to play escort for your fleeing Shogun, you should be able to run this attack constantly until the end of the game.
- The second Imperial Navy guerilla option, if you're playing Uprising, is the Giga Fortress. When used properly, it can counter anything you can throw at it, no exceptions. A great way to do this is to slowly creep up to an enemy base build on a cliff near water, then suddenly convert to the aerial mode and bombard the enemy with the God's Breath device from maximum range. Nothing except Apollos, MiGs, or Jet Tengu can effectively counter this, and if you don't get them on target very quickly, then when the Giga Fortress transforms back into Sea Mode they'll be slaughtered. Another way to use the Giga Fortress is in a baiting role for Bullfrogs, and this works wonders against the Soviet AI. When you start to fire from above the water, the AI doesn't just send bullfrogs, it sends them directly under the Giga Fortress. Transform it back to sea mode to crush them instantly, then keep laying down Shogun-class fire while your Chopper VX's swoop in and rain down rockets unhindered. The best counter to a Giga Fortress is to use Apollos, MiGs, or Jet Tengu, and just be ready to get them the hell out of dodge when the Giga Fortress transforms back to Sea Mode. Use the special ability of your MiGs or Apollos to do this, or you can continue firing with Mecha Tengu if you are pretty close to killing the Giga Fortress when it transforms back to Sea Mode.
In summary, the primary goal of Guerilla warfare is to make some dent in your opponent's forces without sustaining any damage in your own, and in doing so, to allow a smaller force to defeat a larger force. This can be tricky, and if you're not playing Turtle at the same time, this will probably fail, since your base is more likely to be destroyed if your enemy has time to build up an assault force while you're chipping away at him. Guerilla tactics are much more useful in the early game because they can put a big dent in your opponent's economy before they really get it going, and this in turn makes the late game much harder for them to sustain. The down side is that a well balanced standing army can counter most Guerilla tactics and at some point, sooner or later, you are going to have to actually attack your enemy, no matter how much you chip away. Most Guerilla tactics used by the Allies rely on use of secret protocol abilities, and this in turn limits how often you can use them, so Allied players should consider running some Guerilla tactics, but only to augment a Rusher or Steamroller overall strategy. Almost everything in the Empire of the Rising Sun makes some use of Guerilla strategy, because most of the Imperial Army, Airforce and Navy are fast, flexible and cunning( although the Imperial airforce is pretty much weak when going head to head with Allies own Airforce in terms of air superiority)- even a swarm of 40 Tengus are using the basic Guerilla tactic of "if you can't hit me you can't kill me" despite their number. Lastly, the Soviet's primary strategy has always been more along the lines of a Steamroller/Turtle strategy, but this doesn't mean they can't be very effective with a Guerilla strategy too. In Uprising, the first Soviet mission requires very heavy use of Guerilla tactics to even complete the mission, and the very essence of the Soviet Tech Tree allows you to establish a Barracks for $1000 capable of pumping out a stream of Mortar Cycles right outside the enemy's base. ($1000 for sputnik, $500 for Barracks, $500 back for selling Sputnik, if you're curious about the math there.) Used wisely, Guerilla tactics can mean the difference between struggling to stay alive long enough to Steamroll an opponent, and leveling their entire (economically drained) base with a single Tankbuster.